President Barack Obama welcomes World Series champion New York Yankees to White House

The NYDailyNews writes

WASHINGTON – When President Obama picked up the World Series trophy for a photo opportunity near the end of Monday’s ceremony at the White House, Yankees assistant general manager Jean Afterman threw a little Bronx attitude at the longtime White Sox fan.

“Let him hold it,” Afterman said. “He may not get a chance again.”

As the crowd in the East Room laughed at the crack, the President answered quickly with a one-liner of his own.

“And you wonder why the other teams don’t root for you,” Obama said with a smile.

It was a festive atmosphere as the Yankees were honored for their 2009 title, presenting Obama with a signed No. 27 pinstriped jersey to commemorate the visit.
“It’s been nine years since your last title – which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans,” Obama said toward the beginning of his eight-minute address. “I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that – the Cubs, for example.”

Obama praised the Yankees for their work on and off the field, citing the charitable efforts of Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada, the work ethic of Derek Jeter and the HOPE Week initiative the organization began last summer. The President also had kind words for Mariano Rivera, whom he clearly would prefer to see pitching for his hometown White Sox.
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“This is a team that goes down to spring training every year expecting to win it all – and more often than not, you guys get pretty close,” said Obama, who was joined by Vice President Joe Biden. “Of course, if I had Rivera, I’d get pretty close, too. My White Sox would get close every year. That attitude, that success, has always made the Yankees easy to love – and, let’s face it, easy to hate as well.”

Whether it was their fifth visit to the White House or their first, the Yankees soaked in every moment as they closed the book on last fall’s title run.

“We keep saying we’re closing the 2009 season, but we still haven’t yet,” Teixeira said. “This is may be the last hurrah, and it’s up there with the parade and the clinching Game 6. The entire ride, from spring training until today, it’s been incredible.”

As much as the Yankees cherished the trip to the White House, it was their visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Mologne House – a housing facility for wounded soldiers and their families – that seemed to touch them the most.

“It was a privilege for us to go there,” Jeter said. “For them to come up to us and say thank you for winning a championship, it was mind-boggling. We were there to thank them. It really puts things in perspective; people always look at us and say that we’re heroes, but when you look at it, they’re the real heroes.”

Half of the team’s traveling party – which included George Steinbrenner children’s Hal, Jennifer and Jessica (Hank was conspicuously absent), team president Randy Levine, COO Lonn Trost and GM Brian Cashman – visited Walter Reed, while the others went to Mologne House.

“You go to thank the soldiers for what they’ve done,” Joe Girardi said. “It really penetrates your heart to see the sacrifices that they make to serve our country and protect us. It’s amazing.”

The entire group assembled in a cafeteria at Walter Reed to take photos and sign autographs with the soldiers, then headed to Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It was my first time, and it was a real honor to be in front of the President,” Alex Rodriguez said. “To achieve something and to come here, it was a big reward. But for me, the biggest reward of the day was going down this morning and spending time with those guys. I know they enjoyed it, but we enjoyed it as much if not more.”

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